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Pupil presented with 10,000 John Muir Award in Cairngorms National Park

22nd November 2011

A pupil from Ballater Primary School has today (Monday 22nd November 2010) become the 10,000th person to achieve a John Muir Award in the Cairngorms National Park.

Michael Mitchell, a Primary 7 pupil, was presented with the award by Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Minister for Environment.

Ms Cunningham met pupils taking part in the scheme and was shown some of the work they are doing on wildlife habitats.

On presenting the 10,000th John Muir Award, Minister for Environment Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Learning in the outdoors can make significant contributions to literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. The John Muir Award plays an important part in this by motivating people to get outdoors and make the most of their natural environment.

“It’s wonderful to see the pupils at Ballater Primary getting involved and learning about nature and conservation in a way that is fun and meaningful. As Ballater Primary has discovered, the Cairngorms National Park has much to offer and I would encourage other schools to explore how this environment can help them to deliver curriculum for excellence through outdoor learning.

“Congratulations to Michael and his school mates on their achievement.”

The John Muir Award is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust. Four challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award: discover, explore, conserve and share.

When the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) was established in 2003, one of the first projects approved was the appointment of someone to run the John Muir Awards in the Park. The current John Muir Awards Manager is Alan Smith, CNPA Outdoor Learning Officer. He said: “The Cairngorms National Park is the perfect place to run a scheme like this as it’s all about wild places, the environment and getting out exploring. Everyone who has taken part in the scheme shares in this milestone and the achievement it represents.

“We look forward to seeing thousands more take part in the John Muir Awards scheme which not only teaches people about the place they live and how they can look after its future, but also encourages people outside to enjoy what’s on their doorstep.”

The John Muir Awards are undertaken as part of the core curriculum in many schools in the Cairngorms National Park including Ballater Primary School.

Louise Duckworth, Ballater Primary School Head Teacher, said: “I am delighted both for Michael and the school to receive this award. It acknowledges the hard work by all involved –  pupils, staff and parents. In addition it underpins not only the JMA work undertaken in the school as part of our core curriculum but also our wider eco school strategy.”